I was sitting at the table at my parents house, easting dinner with my mom. The sun was low and I was starting to get the urge to climb. I found myself staring out the window at the trees in the back yard. I’d eat a little then look around for trees. I saw a pine just behind the back fence in the wooded lot.
It seemed like a possibility. Then I noticed a tree just to the left of the pool.
It sits in-between a few larger trees.
The limbs start a little high but the trunk is a good shimmying size. As I stared at that one it became more inviting. I saw a path up to the top. I really wanted to jump outside but I had to wait till dinner was over. Plus my mom was leaving soon and I know she doesn’t like to see me climb. So once we finished I grabbed my camera and popped out the back door.
I saw my mom in the window doing dishes but I couldn’t wait. The sun was almost gone.
I gripped the trunk and tried walking up with my feet but that wasn’t working. I just straddled the trunk with my legs and squeezed. Then hand, hand, inch up legs, repeat. Pretty soon I got a hold of the first limb. The lower limbs didn’t seem too strong, but they held just enough with my weight properly distributed. The climb up was good.
I got to one point, pretty high up, and there was a dead limb resting on some live ones a couple feet out. I got a good grip with my left hand and reached for it with my right. I couldn’t reach so I broke off a twig to reach it. Eventually I got it and threw it to the ground. I broke off a couple other dead limbs. I think work is causing this behavior. All day I drag dead limbs my co-workers cut from trees. I’m always looking for deadwood. So now that I’m in a tree, I find the need to seek and eliminate deadwood. Plus, it’s good. My dad gets free pruning and I prevent injury by eliminating risky limbs.
Anyway, I took pictures and there were 30 or so Turkey Vultures all resting in the limbs of a nearby tree.
Then I realized this was another tree without leaves. I climbed down amazed I keep finding more trees to climb in this one yard.
12-2-08: Way behind again. The tree from the entry above is one of the trees my parents lost in the Ike wind storm.
That picture is from September 21st of this year. The tree has since been cut down and the stump ground out. It was a sad day. Such a good tree. I ended up climbing it four or five times.
On Wednesday of last week I picked up my brother from the airport at around 5:30. I left early thinking I might find a tree by the airport and get some cool shots of the runway, maybe a plane landing or taking off. I went to the airport on small roads and ended up driving all around the airport. By the time I got to the terminal I didn’t have anytime left to climb. I just went straight to the cell phone waiting lot to await Scott’s call.
I took some shots from my truck figuring I didn’t get any from a tree, I might as well get some. But I never captured a plane taking off or landing. Oh well.
Scott finally came in and I picked him up. As we drove away I told him I still needed to climb a tree and it was getting dark fast. I took the Eastern Parkway exit and drove to George Rogers Clark Park of Poplar Level Road. I thought maybe my brother would join me but he just wanted to stay in the truck and listen to the music and stay warm. I ran into the field looking for a good tree. The sun was almost gone and I was in a hurry.
I found a large oak tree next to another tree that had lost a very large branch which leaned up against the oak. It was large and I saw a way in. I grabbed an overhanging limb and pulled it down. I tested my weight and it held so I continued my hanging crawl up. The limbs were very crowded and it made the progress up to the trunk slow. The slower it goes the more my arms get tired. But I have been getting stronger so I managed to right myself and get to my feet before I was too fatigued. I scrambled up the branches and knew the light was almost completely gone so I stopped halfway up to take a few pictures.
Then I continued up higher and higher. It was a challenging tree and as it got darker I had to go a little slower to test branches. When I got to the top I started to take more pictures and look at the different in light from the picture above.
Granted, the picture directly above was taken with flash which eliminated most natural light, but still. I tried to get pictures of some of the buildings and cars going by on Poplar Level Road but I was too high in the tree to stay still.
I did manage to capture the last line of color in the sky.
The rest I took with flash.
I was way up in this tree but I couldn’t even give you a guess of howhigh. When you climb in the dark you lose sight of the ground. If you are scared of heights it’s actually nice. At least as long as you are comfortable in a tree. I was very near the top and was not cold at all. I had bundled up and the tree was a good challenge so I was warm. When I decided to climb down I really got hot. I made it down with a few challenging spots where I wasn’t able to see the branch my foot was trying to reach. I made it down to the branch I needed to hang from and crawl to the end. As I went under and started to crawl I kept getting stuck and poked by offshoot twigs. One even went up my pant leg and got stuck in my sock. It was pulling my hat and lifting my jacket. It really slowed me down and my arms were getting tired. And when they get tired I get scared that I might fall. Adrenaline kicks in and I get really hot. When I finally fought my way to the end and could drop to the ground safely I tore off my hat, coat, and sweater. My chest was heaving and the cold night air felt so good as I walked back to the truck. I wish I hadn’t lost all the light but it was still a great climb.
4 Replies to “DAY 237”
[2007 entry response]
your mother doesn’t like to see you climb
Do you still seek and eliminate deadwood, Treeman?
Way to help your dad prune.
Man, that dead limb “resting in the limbs of a nearby tree” looks odd. Oh, that’s a living limb I am examining (this is the picture immediately below “eliminating risky limbs”).
Have you seen any turkey buzzards get into some action – such as striking down for a meal.
[2008 entry response]
So does this mean there are four or five entries in which you climbed this now eliminated tree (the one damaged critically by Ike)?
I did not know airports sometimes have cell phone waiting lots. Great!
I think it’s interesting that here it is in early December of 2008 and after all of these days of climing you still say, “I have been getting stronger.”
I thought you were going to mention blood at the end of this entry. Still, this sounds intense. The fact that your chest was heaving at the end surprised me. What a man!
I still often clear dead limbs, but more for my safety. Since I have been climbing so much more at night it is helpful to eliminate the dead branches so that when I climb down I won’t try to use them as a hold and then fall. But if I am in my parents’ yard I will clear dead limbs to help my dad out.
And Turkey Buzzards are scavengers and you usually see them on the side of the road cleaning up road kill. They are protected I think because they do this. They help out the state clean the interstates. So no, I have never seen them in action besides just flying. Nor have I seen them “do it.”
Yes, I had climbed that maple about five times before it found its end.
As for the cell phone waiting lots, they are popping up at all airports and are very helpful. I usually avoid parking since I don’t like to pay. So rather than pulling off the side of the entrance lane to wait for a call, which is illegal, you just go to this free lot, not often used, and wait for your call. Then you get back on the entrance loop and go right to your visitor. Next time you go, follow the sign, sometimes they are small and confusing.
I thrive on the difficult challenge. And the more I think about it, the more I realize there is possibility for endless improvement. It is the scary ones where I learn the most and gain the most strength for next time.
Such a good son, clearing the dead limbs for your parents.
And keep the faith about seeing the turkey buzzards in action.
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